Wisconsin Strong: Your Financial Security

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Overview

Results

Champions and Partners

Awards and Recognition

Funding

Overview

The Wisconsin Strong: Your Financial Security™ financial wellness pilot program was conducted from March 2021 through February 2022. The holistic program was designed to enable government employees and retirees to maximize their benefits from the Wisconsin retirement system , save for the future and achieve financial well-being at all times. age.

WRS members and their families had free access to targeted and interactive online training, resources and tools. Debt management, budgeting, investments, estate planning, retirement planning, the financial impact of caregiving and other finance-related topics were covered.

If you registered for Financial Health Challenge educational platform, you can continue to access the resources until May 31, 2022. The provider, Financial Fitness Group, will provide customer service.

If you configure a Savi student loan repayment and loan cancellation account, these services will continue under the terms of your account. The vendor, Savi, will provide customer support.

Questions? Please send inquiries about the Wisconsin Strong program to etfsmbwistrong@etf.wi.gov.

Results

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted awareness and education of the person to everything virtual. Over an eight-month campaign period in 2021, the Wisconsin Strong program achieved significant results.

  • Engaging. The more than 18,300 program participants completed online financial health self-assessments, personalized and interactive courses and webinars. More than 200 people have taken steps to reduce their college debt and 401 new college savings accounts have been opened.
  • Behaviour change. Survey results indicate changes in participants’ behaviors. For example, 29% of participants said they had created or revised their budgets or spending plans; 27% have created or reviewed a financial plan; 21% checked their credit or made a positive change to improve their credit; and 21% created or added money to an emergency fund.
  • Satisfactory. The program received an average satisfaction rating of 3.9 (on a five-point scale) among surveyed participants. Additionally, 86% said the program fit easily into their work week and personal life.

Champions and Partners

The Wisconsin Strong program has attracted 51 Wisconsin Retirement System employer champions who are committed to supporting the financial well-being of their employees. Employers, such as the Department of Natural Resources, Bayfield School District, Taylor County, City of Ashland and University of Wisconsin-Platteville, had access to a toolkit of communications resources. To see Strong Wisconsin champions.

Wisconsin Strong partners, such as Financial Fitness Group, Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program, Summit Credit Union, Savi, Edvest, and Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, have enhanced the program’s educational offerings in financial wellness. See Wisconsin Strong Partners.

Awards and Recognition

The Wisconsin Strong program was selected as one of five national case studies by MissionSquare Research Institute (formerly the Center for State and Local Government Excellence) in its report, Case Studies of Innovative Public Sector Employee Financial Wellness Programs. The report highlights program outreach and education, metrics and lessons learned.

the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability selected the Wisconsin Strong Program for a 2021 Governor’s Award in Financial Literacy based on the following criteria:

  • Innovative implementation of an effective financial literacy and capability program
  • Focus on financial inclusion
  • Measurable results demonstrated
  • Collaboration with partners
  • Program design scalability

The Wisconsin Strong program has also been cited in two proclamations by Governor Tony Evers, including October 2021 as National Retirement Security Month and April 2021 as Literacy and Financial Capability Month in Wisconsin.

Funding

The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions received a one-year grant of $100,000 to establish or improve a public employee financial wellness program. ETF developed and implemented the Wisconsin Strong: Your Financial Security™ financial wellness program for Wisconsin Retirement System employees, retirees and their families.

The grant was sponsored by MissionSquare Research Institute (formerly the Center for State and Local Government Excellence), the International Association of Public Management for Human Resourcesthe Founding of the National Association of State Treasurersthanks to funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Sarah J. Greer